10 False Nutrition Facts Everyone Knows

Food Cravings Mean You Lack Specific Nutrients
If food cravings really mean you're lacking certain vitamins or minerals, how come you always crave a piece of cake but not an apple? OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock

Can't get enough chocolate? Is cheese your kryptonite? Unable to resist red meat? Then your body must be craving specific nutrients found in these foods.

Unfortunately, this is a longstanding food myth. The idea that your body, at an elemental level, is sending signals to your brain forcing you to drink a glass of orange juice or dive into a slice of cheesecake is simply off the mark.

Food cravings, at least for humans, tend to revolve around emotional needs rather than physical ones. In fact, if a food is forbidden (remember that slice of cheesecake?), you'll probably want it all the more. There is one notable exception: If you are nutritionally deficient in iron, you'll have cravings -- but not for iron-rich steak or liver, as you might imagine. Instead, you might chew on significant amounts of ice cubes, a condition known as pagophagia. It's a variant of pica, a disorder in which people eat things -- clay, paper, chalk -- that aren't actually food [source: O'Connor, Weil].

More to Explore